Victorian Premier signals further news to come from Commonwealth regarding ECEC
Following announcements over the weekend in relation to a move to Stage Four restrictions, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews held a press conference this afternoon, outlining the impact to businesses and employees as a result of the changes.
Many in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector had hoped that further guidance would be provided in the announcement, in relation to the Premier’s previous comments regarding the provision of care for only the most essential workers, and for some reassurance about the impact to ECEC employees and services as a result of the changes, should occupancy levels in services drop as a result of the measures implemented in Stage 4.
During the press conference Premier Andrews acknowledged that any roll out of changes as significant as the Stage 4 measures will leave people with questions, and that there will be a number of anomalies to address, saying these will be worked through in the coming days, and that the Government has been working with relevant sectors and industries to ensure they have a holistic view of the impact of any changes.
The crux of this afternoon’s announcement centred outlining the categories of businesses which would remain open, and which would close.
For the next six weeks, there will be three categories of workplace in those areas affected by Stage 4 restrictions:
- Essential services which will remain open, such as supermarkets, hospitals, post offices, and a number of other front line services such as petrol stations.
- Business which are non-essential, such as retail stores, gyms, and beauty salons will close.
- Other businesses and services which will remain open, but operate under different circumstances than usual, such as meat processing works, the construction sector, and schools.
When asked by a journalist about how the changes would impact the ECEC sector, the Premier noted that decisions and discussions are being finalised, before speaking broadly about education as a collective, saying supervision of remote learning would be available onsite “only for those still working in metropolitan Melbourne”, and emphasising the need to limit the number of people moving around the community.
The Premier addressed a concern voiced by some within the ECEC sector, about how to best determine which parents are considered to be essential workers, explaining that later in the week he will make further announcements about a permit system, which will outline an individuals role as a worker, conditions of employment, and which will validate their reasons for moving around in the community.
In relation to a return to JobKeeper measures for the ECEC sector, or a return to the free childcare model for affected areas of Victoria, the Premier signaled that further announcements may be made by the Commonwealth in relation to both, saying only that “there has been a lot of discussions” with the Commonwealth, and that the contents of those discussions were “not his to announce.”
The Sector will continue to cover announcements and policy changes as they come to light. To access all relevant statements and transcripts from the Victorian Government, please see here.